In companies, the shortage of personnel means that orders cannot be processed. That’s bad enough. But in some areas, the shortage threatens social life. Where it becomes particularly dangerous.

It’s a nightmare for all of us: we have a serious illness or injury – and we don’t get a bed in an intensive care unit. This scenario has come true more frequently in the course of the corona pandemic: first abroad, then also in Germany.

On the TV news we saw images of exhausted doctors reporting that they had far too few staff on the ward to care for all the patients.

The occupancy rate of the intensive care units has long been an important indicator when it comes to the question of how extensively the state is taking action against the corona virus and what measures are being taken.

But the fundamental problem that there are too few staff in Germany’s hospitals has not been solved.

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The situation in children’s hospitals is particularly striking. As early as September, beds were running out in some houses. Doctors are sounding the alarm because sometimes they can no longer take in children.

The system of case flat rates makes the economic operation of a children’s clinic hardly profitable, which means that staff cannot be attracted with higher wages. In addition, the separate training is more complex than treating adults, which deters some professionals.

The federal government is currently working on a new system. The previous government was criticized for simply leaving the issue untouched.

The healthcare system is suffering particularly badly from the lack of staff, and this has long been known in the care of the elderly and the sick. The number of mental illnesses also increases the need for specialized staff.

The number of vacancies for psychologists has increased significantly in the past year. The shortage of skilled workers is visible in the healthcare sector, but the problem affects large parts of the economy.

Due to demographic change, significantly more people are retiring than are entering the labor market. By 2030, the German labor market will lack around five million skilled workers.

More and more companies have not had to close due to a lack of liquidity, but because there is a lack of staff – above all restaurants. Practically all companies have taken measures to prepare for this.

Be it higher salaries or more and more fringe benefits that are intended to make one’s own company attractive in the “war for talent”, which has long since become a “war for everyone”. At least for the people who have completed their training.

The state is struggling to keep up when it comes to recruiting talent. After all, the shortage of skilled workers affects public administration as well. In some regions, many experts see the ability of the municipalities to function at risk if the jobs in the offices cannot be filled as necessary.

Digitization could solve the fact that approvals are taking longer and longer. There is plenty of room for improvement here. But some jobs in the public sector can only be filled by people – above all the police and other authorities who have to ensure the security of the state and its citizens.

In the case of IT specialists, the competition between the state and companies is particularly noticeable. The lack of experts in all aspects of cyber security is problematic. Germany’s hospitals, but also the administration and associations, are only inadequately protected.

The Bundeswehr has set up its own department and is desperately trying to recruit as many good people as possible. The highest demand for staff is currently in the education sector, as shown by statistics from job exchanges such as Stepstone or Indeed.

More than twice as many job offers are currently being posted as a year ago. According to the teachers’ association, around 40,000 teachers were missing at the beginning of the school year. The result is that more and more school hours are cancelled.

There aren’t even any substitutes anymore. In some federal states, more than ten percent of school hours are already cancelled. The consequences for society are enormous, as the high number of absenteeism ensures that the educational deficit among children from non-academic households is increasing. The system is less permeable, which is why talent is not promoted. So the problem keeps getting worse.

A shortage of staff also endangers the issue of climate change: The change to more sustainable management has begun, but is not only failing due to approval procedures that delay projects such as the construction of wind turbines or power lines.

The staff is also scarce. An example: The number of heat pumps in Germany is set to increase from around one million today to six million in 2030. Now Vaillant, Viessmann and Co have no difficulty in building and delivering the five million devices in this time.

Demand is also high. But who installs and maintains the systems on site? There are too few of these “climate heroes” in overalls. In general, the trade needs more young people. Infrastructure projects such as bridge work are also being delayed as a result.

Logistics is another issue. When the queues at Germany’s airports got longer and longer during the summer travel season, this could still be classified under the “annoying” category.

The lack of drivers is becoming dangerous in logistics where urgently needed deliveries are needed. And when it comes to transporting people and goods, there is a shortage of truck drivers on the road and train drivers on the rails. In Great Britain, supermarkets remained empty for weeks because there were not enough “Brummi” drivers.

The demographic development cannot be changed, but some measures can alleviate the shortage of skilled workers. Experts advise that professions that are particularly important for the functioning of society should be remunerated in such a way that they are competitive with others.

But for most people, it’s not just about money, but also appreciation. The public reputation of teachers in Germany, for example, is noticeably lower than in other countries.

Many of these jobs have a high purpose factor – for example geriatric nurse or nurse. But that doesn’t automatically make them more attractive: if people in a job with a high level of meaning don’t manage to do what the job actually involves – for example, geriatric nurse to dealing with people – because of sheer overload or bureaucracy, then the feeling reverses , to do something useful, quickly around.

For this reason, experts urgently advise digitizing the affected organizations at full speed. Anyone who has experienced the paperwork in some hospitals first-hand can imagine how much unnecessary work doctors, nurses and geriatric nurses have to do with bureaucracy.

If doctors, nurses, police officers and others have as little time as possible for administration and as much time as possible for people – then that would make their jobs much more attractive.

The article “Where the shortage of skilled workers becomes particularly dangerous” comes from WirtschaftsKurier.